Financing an expensive sport, causing hassles that are worth it for entry to the Olympic Games: parents of sailors
In a historic first, four Indian sailors qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.
From spending over Rs 1 lakh per month on boat rental training at a huge cost for international events, the four Indian sailors who qualified for the Olympics have a lot to thank their parents for their trip to make the cup for the Tokyo Games. . In a historic first for India, four sailors from the country – Nethra Kumanan (radial laser event), Vishnu Saravanan (standard laser class), and the pair of Ganapathy Chengappa and Varun Thakkar (49er class) made the cut for the Games from Tokyo during the Asian qualifiers in Oman. But their achievement came after a lot of struggles and financial hardship from their parents.
“For Varun, sailing has been a passion since childhood. But the lack of a training area is a problem, there is no academy. He trains at Chennai Port Trust. The government of Tamil Nadu has promised to build an academy at Marina Beach. We are waiting for this, ”Varun’s father, Ashok Thakkar, told PTI from Chennai. Sailing is in the blood for Varun because his father is associated with the Tamil Nadu Sailing Association in addition to being in the navigation sector.
“I spend at least Rs 1.5 lakh per month for Varun. It is an expensive sport, the equipment is expensive. The training hours are also long. Varun normally trains six hours a day,” said Ashok. “But it’s all worth it. My son made the country proud by qualifying for the Olympics. We hope he and the whole Indian team do well in Tokyo.” Varun, 26, currently a third year B.Com student, won his first senior national championships in 2008 and from there he hasn’t looked back. He won a gold medal at the 2018 Asian Championships, a bronze medal with Ganapathy at the 2018 Asian Games, and a silver medal at the 49er Asian Championships 2019.
Nethra’s father VC Kumanan said it was affordable at a beginner’s level but got expensive as his daughter aimed higher. “At first it’s not expensive, when you go up the ladder it gets expensive. There are costs involved including travel, stay, etc.,” Kumanan said.
Nethra Kumanan, 23, won her first gold at the senior nationals in 2015. She won a bronze medal in a World Cup Series event in the United States in January last year. . She also competed in the 2014 and 2018 Asian Games. “Being able to go to the Olympics is in itself a great thing and it was her dream to qualify. Her hard work over the years has paid off,” VC Kumanan told PTI in Mussanah in Oman.
“Qualifying is wonderful. But the Olympics are another level. It is not going to be easy and it is a high level sport. She has to train hard to get good results in Tokyo,” he said. he adds. The Chennai sailor was stranded in Spain during the forced COVID-19 lockdown last year, but used his time to train with international sailors in Gran Canaria. “From April 2020 to mid-March of this year she trained with international athletes in Gran Canaria which has helped her a lot,” Kumanan said of her daughter, who is in her second year. of Engineering at SRM Engineering College, Chennai. “She played tennis, basketball, tried her hand at art and Bharatnatyam. Somehow she was drawn to sailing when we took her to a camp. organized by TNSA at the age of 12. From then on, Nethra was very interested in sailing. ” he added.
Vishnu’s father, Ramachandran Saravanan, did not have to spend as much as his son normally uses the boats provided by the Indian military in Mumbai. He retired last year as a Subedar Major at the Indian Army Yachting Node south of Mumbai. “The sail is called a ‘Royal Sport’. A boat for Vishnu costs Rs 9 lakh but luckily the Indian Army provides it for him. We spend around Rs 50,000 a month on his training and everything,” Ramachandran, who is also Vishnu’s personal trainer, mentioned. “When Vishnu participates in competitions outside the country, there is a problem. We cannot take our boats as it will cost 5-6 lakh rupees to transport a boat out of the country.
“We have to rent boats at the place where the competition is taking place and we spend 2 to 3 lakh rupees on renting a ‘uniquely designed boat’ for 15 to 20 days,” he said. “Uniquely designed boats” are the same all over the world in size, weight and design, he said. Vishnu, 22, also currently a third-year B.Com student, became National Youth Champion in 2016 and he won the senior laser standard class in 2018. He won a bronze medal at the World Underworld Championships. 21 years old in Croatia in 2019.
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